Pikes Peak fire may have been caused by campfire | AspenTimes.com

Pikes Peak fire may have been caused by campfire

The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

COLORADO SPRINGS ” A 30-acre blaze in steep canyons and rugged terrain near Pikes Peak may have been caused by a fire in a homeless camp.

Based on that assumption, Manitou Springs police and other city employees cleared out the camp Thursday.

Police Chief Mary Jo Smith said there is no indication the fire was caused by illegal activity.

City Administrator Verne Witham said Manitou Springs would have to pay $32,000 for its share of firefighting costs.

More than 80 firefighters from city, county and federal agencies worked to put out the fire, which started Sept. 28. Helicopters and a heavy air tanker from Hill Air Force Base near Salt Lake City were also called.

“Basically, the first day is on us and the rest will come from the U.S. Forest Service and from a state firefighting fund that was created just for situations like this,” Witham said.

The city doesn’t have much surplus in its $50 million annual budget, and the City Council will have to decide how to pay the bill, Witham said.

“That’s a lot of money to us,” he said. “We don’t have that just sitting around.”